July 12, 2016
Three months ago, I finally heeded the advice of the various hairstylists who have been encouraging me to please be a bit more adventurous with my hair – since I work in an industry that can accept it – and took to plunge to bleach it. One coat of bleach followed by a second coat to create highlights left my hair a quite terrifying shade of orange, but that was before the colour went on, of course – I chose an ashy brown that went on grey on the highlighted portions, as something that ventured slightly into the whole granny hair trend, without being too grey (wanted to be cautious the first time round).
It looked great and I loved it! But unfortunately… this newfound love didn’t last long, as the ashy tones disappeared within two weeks, leaving behind a brassy gold that essentially turned me into an unplanned blonde. So all the warnings were true: ashy tones really don’t do well on Asian hair, which naturally carries yellow tones; it also didn’t help that my bleached hair had such a strong orange tinge to begin with. Not that Asians can’t carry off blonde hair, but I never intended for my hair to turn so yellow so quickly, so I was naturally a bit disappointed.
Three months and a return trip to the salon later, my hair is back to an ashy almost-grey and the yellow has thankfully been covered up, but this time, I’m prepared. Losing the fight against brassy hair over the last few months led to several frantic Google searches and beseeching several hairstylists to tell me the secret to how to preserve the colour of my hair, and by now, I’m quite the expert.
What I’ve learnt is: the ultimate weapon for fighting yellow hair is purple haircare. This is common sense, really, if you know anything about the colour wheel and complementary colours, as purple neutralises yellow. Since my most recent dye session, changing up my haircare routine to ensure my hair gets a daily dose of purple has managed to keep the brassiness at bay thus far. Research and a bit of good luck has led me to the following purple products, and since I’ve found that these aren’t that common in Singapore currently, this is where I share my finds.
RPR Brighten My Blonde range
This was a lucky find, but also possibly my best discovery. I tried my luck at my neighbourhood shopping mall to see if I could find purple hair products I could easily stock up on without having to travel to town or a specialised salon stockist. At Beauty Language, I unearthed this gem of a range from Australian brand RPR, which includes a shampoo, conditioner and leave-on treatment that carry purple pigments to “remove unwanted brassiness and yellow tones from blonde grey and coloured hair”. The formulas use blueberries and chamomile to soothe the hair, and the shampoo and conditioner carry strong purple pigments that don’t irritate my scalp. But it’s the leave-in treatment that’s the star: when I work the light purple cream into sections of hair where a tinge of brassiness has appeared, I see it cancel out the yellow tones right before my eyes. It’s not the best-smelling product, but I’m willing to live with that; because in addition to being a quick fix for maintaining my colour, people have started commenting that my hair looks unusually soft considering it’s been bleached, and I feel it too.
RPR Brighten My Blonde Shampoo, Conditioner and Leave-In Treatment, $19.50 to $45. Available at Beauty Language.
Original & Mineral Conquer Blonde
O&M is another Australian brand, which shows that the experts Down Under seem to know better when it comes to purple haircare. The Conquer Blonde Silver Shampoo and Conditioner both carry intense purple pigments, but smell light and floral – like the rest of the brand’s products, it relies on botanicals like macadamia seed oil, banksia flower, evening primrose oil and shea butter to clean and moisturise hair. I’ve tried the shampoo a few months back, but having the newly-launched accompanying conditioner as a double dose of purple really helps me feel extra secure about getting my hair colour to stay as it is. And O&M really does a good job at keeping hair hydrated.
Original & Mineral Conquer Blonde Silver Shampoo, $48, and Silver Conditioner (available from 15 Aug), $45. Available at Sephora.
Redken Blonde Idol Custom-Tone
This conditioning treatment has the most interesting format: the purple-depositing formula and conditioner are dispensed from separate chambers, and you adjust the dial to vary the ratio of purple pigment to conditioner as the weeks go by. As more time passes from your hair colour session, the proportion of purple is increased until the maximum level at week 6, when it takes on a rich purple hue to fight the increased brassiness that will probably have crept up on your hair by then.
Redken Blonde Idol Custom-Tone, $24. Available at selected Redken salons.
Aveda Blue Malva
The priciest of the lot, but we know Aveda can always be trusted – the Blue Malva Shampoo and Conditioner come out of the bottle purple, unlike the name implies; the shampoo cleanses gently while the conditioner deeply moisturises, and both smell great thanks to the floral ingredients that also help to both balance the scalp and add pigment. The shampoo isn’t cheap, but then if you’re keeping your hair colour for the long haul, it makes sense to invest in taking care of it.
Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo, $89; and Colour Conditioner, $40. Available at Aveda Experience Centres and counters.
Lush Daddy-O Shampoo
The intense violet in this shampoo comes from the all-natural stuff (in typical Lush style), including violet absolute from the violet leaf, and rose and bergamot oils. There’s also fresh citrus juices and seaweed added to the concoction – an odd combination, but hey, it helps keep hair soft and shiny.
Lush Daddy-O Shampoo, $20 to $59. Available at Lush stores.
Main image: Mansur Gavriel F/W ’16, courtesy NARS.